New Program Incoming: D-PRAT (Design-Preservation Rapid Action Teams)
The Division recently announced a competition to find a suitable name for one of our newest programs. We're pleased to announce that our CPAT-like program will be called "D-PRAT" for Design-Preservation Rapid Action Teams! We took some time to learn more about our contest winner, and member, Caitlin Cameron.
Where You Work, and Your Role: Urban Designer, Department of Planning & Urban Development, City of Portland, Maine
How You got into Planning: I started out working in architecture and was frustrated by the scale of thinking about one building at a time. After being laid off during the recession, I discovered movements like community-based design, urban agriculture, and planning, and eventually decided to go to graduate school for city planning. My design background means I am still very engaged in physical planning and I touch on many aspects of the quality of the built environment. My current job is a hybrid of architecture and planning and I get to work at the scale of the block, neighborhood, and city. Portland is a nice, manageable-scale place with a lot of history—you can wrap your head around it, but it is still big enough to have the complexity of a city. It helps that I work with many talented and dedicated people; we help each other in service to the public and improving the quality of the built environment for everyone.
Outside of the Field: Outside of my urban design role I have been car-free for twenty years, living in the middle of the action as an avid pedestrian. I enjoy cultural amenities, like museums and movies, but also find ways to get out into the landscape by hiking, snowshoeing, and now cross-country skiing. My identity as a yogi is also an important part of my life. To flex my creative muscle, I am an occasional book artist and am currently working on some mapping and guidebook projects through #CityFound and #DailyPath. I like to make blind contour drawings of people to pass the time during public meetings!
Planning Superhero: #planningsuperhero of the moment is landscape architect Anne Whiston Spirn. I got to know about her longitudinal planning work by transcribing interviews for her upcoming book about the West Philly Landscape Project.
What You Find Exciting or Gives You Hope for our Field: It is important to me to use my knowledge and skills in service to people and the environment, and planning and urban design really provide the perfect opportunity to do that. I think of cities as living organisms and it is exciting to know our work is never done because there is always something that is evolving or improving based on who lives here.